Friday, January 22, 1999

CINCINNATI 81, LOUISVILLE 55


Bearcats put on a show for nation

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[tate]
Jermaine Tate had 11 points and nine rebounds.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        LOUISVILLE, Ky. — They see the scores on ESPN, in the paper. Connecticut by 20. Maryland by 30. Duke by numbers all those brainy players can't even calculate. The Cincinnati Bearcats wanted to give such a performance Thursday, one whose result would take the breath from college basketball fans.

        This was what they desired: UC 81, Louisville 55.

        “I think we came out and put on a show,” said Bearcats forward Pete Mickeal, who scored 18 to tie shooting guard Melvin Levett for the team lead.

        “Coach always says Connecticut, Duke and Maryland, those guys play and keep playing. That's what we wanted to do. This was probably the first game we really completed against a hard team like this.”

[fletcher]
Ryan Fletcher is jolted backward after colliding with Nate Johnson.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        Although it entered this Conference USA game alone atop the league standings, No. 24-ranked Louisville (10-4, 5-1) looked as soft as a pillow to the 19,923 at Freedom Hall. The No. 5 Bearcats (17-1, 5-1) recorded the most one-sided victory by any visitor to Freedom Hall during coach Denny Crum's tenure at Louisville and the most lopsided margin in the 72-game series.

        The basketball Bearcats gave up fewer points to Louisville than their football squad. They man aged a 44-19 rebounding advantage and held Louisville to .368 shooting, atoning for many of the mistakes made one week earlier in their lone defeat, at UNC Charlotte. The Bearcats attacked with their most insistent fastbreak of the year and dismantled Louisville's vaunted high-post offense, the most productive in the league.

        “You don't expect to come in here and win by the margin we did,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “We were fortunate. We kind of had some things break right for us.”

        For one, Louisville showed.

[horton]
Michael Horton drives between Alex Sanders and Nate Johnson.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        The Bearcats' essential matchup advantage was defined by the assignment of 6-foot-9 Kenyon Martin to defend Louisville star Nate Johnson, a 6-6 small forward.

        With Tate to handle center Alex Sanders and Mickeal assigned to 6-7 shooter Tony Williams, Martin's lateral quickness and long wingspan made it nearly impossible for Johnson to play with any degree of comfort. Martin held Johnson to 2-of-6 shooting and one rebound — all in the first half. Martin scored only six points, but Huggins was effusive in his praise.

        “I really believe Kenyon Martin's one of the best players in the country, because other people can't do with 6-9 guys what I can do with Kenyon,” Huggins said. “Just him being on the floor is such a factor for us.”

        None of this explained the performance of Sanders, who seems to retreat at the very mention of the Bearcats' name. He scored five points, and now is 9-of-35 from the field for a total of 21 points in his past four games against UC.

        Nor does it explain how the trio of freshman Steve Logan and seniors Shawn Myrick and Michael Horton held U of L point guard Cameron Murray scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting. Murray also committed four turnovers. Louisville's only consistent weapon was shooting guard Marques Maybin, who scored 19.

[mitchell]
Alvin Mitchell guards Kevin Smiley.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        The Bearcats were able to extend a 42-26 halftime lead to 18 points on the fifth trip of the second half, when Mickeal made two free throws. But Louisville immediately commenced a 12-3 run that cut that to 49-40, with Woodward grad Eric Johnson sinking two three-pointers in that stretch.

        To cut off the surge and steal some momentum from the Cards, Huggins shifted his team from the man-to-man defense that gave the Bearcats control of the game to a 2-3 zone that had the Cards standing around.

        “We just wanted to come out and play the second half like the first half,” Martin said. “We kind of got to playing tentative, but we got together and said, "This is not the time.' ”

        With a gutty three-point play by Logan, two Mickeal layups and a surprising jumper by forward Jermaine Tate — who scored 11 for his first double-figure game at UC — the Bearcats pushed the lead back to 16.

        UC's first-half dominance was nearly enough to rival its performance in the first 20 minutes against Duke — except that was Duke, and the first-half lead this time never grew as large as the 19 points they were ahead in that game.

        The contributions this time came from so many players that UC got two sensational plays from senior reserve Shawn Myrick. He picked up a loose ball near the Louisville foul lane and threw an off-balance, 50-foot pass to Levett for a dunk, then scored the next time down on a hanging jumper in the lane to make it a 15-point lead.

        Levett was instructed to take Maybin to the goal to prevent U of L from turning misses into breaks.

        “Needless to say, I'm pleased with our effort,” Huggins said. “We knew coming in, if we lose this it's an uphill battle for us, because I think Louisville's really good.

        “When they made a run in the second half, we kind of hung in there and held our composure. How about that? Somebody associated with me holding their composure.”

Bearcats make a loud statement Paul Daugherty column
Crum: UC dominated physically
UC NOTEBOOK
Tulane's Smith comes to UC's defense


CINCINNATI (81)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Tate            21   5-6   1-2   4-9  1  3   11
Mickeal         35   5-8  8-13  5-10  2  1   18
Martin          34   3-6   0-0   2-6  2  3    6
Logan           24   2-4   1-1   0-2  5  3    5
Levett          31  6-11   5-6   0-4  1  0   18
Fletcher        13   5-6   1-2   1-5  0  3   11
Horton           7   0-1   2-2   0-0  0  1    2
Mitchell        11   1-2   0-0   0-0  1  2    2
Myrick          11   1-2   4-5   1-5  1  3    6
Mcghee           4   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  2    0
Land             8   1-3   0-0   0-2  0  0    2
Meacham          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 29-50 22-31 13-43 13 21   81
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.580, FT-.710. 3-Point Goals:
1-4, .250 (Logan 0-1, Levett 1-2, Mitchell 0-1).
Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (Martin 2,
Tate). Turnovers: 20 (Logan 4, Horton 3, Martin
3, Myrick 3, Fletcher 2, Mickeal 2, Tate 2,
Levett). Steals: 10 (Levett 5, Horton 2, Mickeal
2, Tate).


LOUISVILLE (55)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Williams        33   3-6   1-2   1-3  5  4    7
N Johnson       25   2-6   3-3   0-1  2  2    7
Sanders         30   2-8   0-0   2-3  4  3    5
Maybin          29  8-14   3-6   2-2  0  2   19
Murray          27   0-4   0-0   0-2  3  1    0
Edward          16   0-0   0-2   0-2  1  5    0
E Johnson       22  5-13   0-0   4-4  0  4   13
Mckinley         4   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Smiley          13   1-3   2-2   1-2  0  2    4
Bailey           1   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-57  9-15 10-19 15 24   55
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.368, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals:
4-21, .190 (Williams 0-1, Sanders 1-4, Maybin
0-3, Murray 0-3, E Johnson 3-7, Mckinley 0-1,
Smiley 0-1, Bailey 0-1). Team rebounds: None.
Blocked shots: 5 (Smiley 2, Williams, Sanders,
Edward). Turnovers: 17 (Murray 4, Williams 4, N
Johnson 3, Edward 2, Maybin 2, E Johnson,
Sanders). Steals: 5 (E Johnson 2, Murray 2, N
Johnson).
__________________________________
Cincinnati         42   39  -   81
Louisville         26   29  -   55
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 19,923. Officials: Jim
Burr, John Clougherty, Larry Lembo.


Miami U. may ax 4 sports
'Will Miami be the same? No,' AD says
Miami AD keeps coaching options open
Jaguars' Palmer to coach Browns Browns tap Palmer as head coach
SPORTS ON TV-RADIO
HOCKEY TONIGHT